Maharashtra government’s initiative of making Mumbai a slum-free city by 2015 is way behind the schedule with hardly 1.5 lakh houses constructed over the past 14 years against the targeted 8 lakh.

“So far, we have made 1.5 lakh units and 2.5 lakh units are still under construction. We need to develop 5 lakh more units,” State Housing Department Secretary Sitaram Kunte told PTI here.

The Rs 32,000-crore Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) scheme was introduced in 1995 by the then Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government with a view to rehabilitate millions of slum—dwellers in the city.

The global economic downturn resulted in an overall slowdown in several redevelopment projects of the state government, including the SRA scheme and the Dharavi Development Project, Mr. Kunte said.

However, he declined to give further information on the Rs 5,600-crore Dharavi project-the world’s largest slum rehabilitation programme.

“The private developers were not too keen during the economic slump (to take up projects) and hence the slow progress. It was even considered unviable in some of the suburbs as the sale rates were less than Rs 2,000 per sq ft,” Mr. Kunte said.

“However, the department is hopeful that with the economy showing signs of recovery, more private developers will come forward,” Mr. Kunte said, adding the government is only a facilitator and more public—private-partnership is required for the execution of the projects.

Under the SRA, every slum structure existing as on January 1, 1995, or before is eligible to benefit from the rehabilitation scheme.

Also, nearly 70 per cent of the residents of any slum should agree before a developer can redevelop their plot by constructing seven-storey buildings where each family will get a flat measuring 225 sq ft free, he said.

The remaining land can be used to build commercial or residential spaces for sale. Out of the total project amount, Mumbai alone will require nearly Rs 16,000-crore.

“To further facilitate the project, the government should modify the existing rules and increase the Floor Space Index (FSI) to 4 from the existing 2.5, which the developers do not find viable,” he added.

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